I started preparing for the birth of our first baby using Hypnobabies. I believe strongly that our thoughts and attitudes influence our state of being, so this was the perfect program for me. I listened to my scripts nightly and visualized my quick and easy birthing time. My due date was February 14th, so I began visualizing that my birthing time would begin on the evening of February 11th.
My water broke on the evening of February 10th. My husband, Josh, and I were getting ready for bed and I had to pee one last time! On my way to the bathroom I squatted down to pet Truman, one of our three dogs. When I did so I felt a definitive “pop” inside and felt a trickle of water. I went immediately to the toilet where I discovered my mucous plug. Although my husband, Josh, is a doctor (a Pediatric Resident) neither one of us wanted to believe that this was the beginning of “the beginning”. So, we sent Julie several text messages to get her expert opinion. She reassured us that this was indeed the beginning and that I would continue to make amniotic fluid so we should try to rest but keep her informed.
I had some mild pressure waves throughout the night, but things stalled once morning came. It had been approximately 18 hours since my water broke, and by mid-afternoon my resolve was wavering. I was thinking about going to the hospital. I called Julie and she encouraged us to wait a little while longer (if we were comfortable with that). She believed things would progress as night fell. She recommended that I call my OB (Dr. Polo Shirt), which I did. He wanted me to get checked out at the hospital. However, he confirmed that “routine” interventions would begin on my arrival – IV antibiotics, monitoring, and possibly induction. Josh and I discussed the risks and benefits of both options, and we decided to wait it out until morning.
Julie suggested that we get out and walk or climb stairs to re-start the pressure waves, so we decided to go to Target. However, I was to first do 45 minutes of the dreaded knee-chest position! This position helped ensure that Bowen was in the correct position for birthing. After the “torture session” we headed out to Target and then planned to meet Josh’s parents for dinner. However, while we were in Target the pressure waves began to pick up in length and intensity. I had to stop several times in the store and relax through them. By the time we left the store I was not feeling up to dinner out, so we went home and ate Chinese take out – egg drop soup and shrimp fried rice! (This would haunt me in the hours to come!)
Almost immediately after eating the pressure waves really began to get intense. I listened to my Hypnobabies scripts while I draped myself over the back of the couch. Josh sat facing me and held my hands as I tried to relax and breathe through each wave. After about an hour or two I began to feel out of control. The feelings were so intense and I was very uncomfortable. So, while I took a shower, Josh called Julie with an update and she offered to come, but I was craving privacy, and I knew that once Julie was present that there was no turning back! So she waited. I moved back and forth between the living room and the bathroom trying to find some relief from the intense, persistent waves.
I eventually settled in the bathroom – standing in front of the mirror, rocking side to side, gripping the sink, counting down (5… 4… 3… 2… 1…). This is where things begin to lose focus for me. I was present in my mind more than I was in my body. I could feel the exquisite, relentless pressure as my uterus did it’s “wonderful work” (a Julie quote!). I used my hypnosis to move through each wave. It was only vaguely that I realized Josh was beginning to need support as much as I did. So, we called Julie. While we waited for her Josh began packing the car. Between trips out he would comfort me with reassuring touches, looks, and words.
When Julie arrived I felt very calm and peaceful, but the waves were coming without any breaks and were very powerful. I could not get comfortable, and any time I tried to move into a different position I could feel my resolve breaking down. I threw up my Chinese take out. Julie used some essential oils to revive me. I tried several other positions (back to the couch and on the toilet), but I resumed standing and rocking at the sink. Julie encouraged me to use my “peace” cue and I remember thinking, “This is working! I am doing it!” I threw up again. Having spent the last 9 months researching birth, I assumed that I was in “transition” and I knew that we would have to leave for the hospital before long. I was NOT ready to leave and frankly was still in denial! After 7 hours of active labor I was in denial! Thank goodness we had Julie to help make the tough calls!
The car ride to the hospital was bliss. I remember being completely calm and relaxed. I could feel the bumps and curves in the road, but they lulled me into a primal place deep inside myself. I may have even fallen asleep… I guess I was gearing up for the work to come.
The nurses at Greer Memorial Hospital were wonderful. My favorite nurse (only afterwards!) checked my cervix upon arrival, and at that point she was not my best friend. That part was very difficult and I was begging for her to STOP. She persisted and I was rewarded by being at 9-10cm/0 station. I did receive a HEP/LOC but barely remember it.
Once admitted I tried several positions. I was very disappointed that I wasn’t allowed to stand (because the nurse was having trouble monitoring Bowen), but my dear (strong!) husband supported my weight as I kneeled on the bed and draped myself over his neck. I continued to labor, not feeling any urge to push, and counted down during each wave. I was very focused and got to the point where modesty was of no consequence. I was hot and then cold and then hot again. I was fed ice chips, fanned, covered, and fanned some more. I tried side lying and kneeling. I had been at the hospital for about three hours with no real progression. I think I was unconsciously stalling. I felt like I was really “handling” the waves and had found a rhythm about the process. I was *not* ready for pushing. I was terrified of those new and powerful sensations.
At this point my sweet baby started showing some decels in heart rate. He needed me to bring him into the world. I asked for a mirror (something I had previously been against) because I thought if I could just see what I was working so hard for it would inspire me to do what I was avoiding. My birthing team was so encouraging. They supported and encouraged me as I finally began to push with real effort. Finally, finally, finally my life was changed forever as I watched our son enter the world. My husband was overwhelmed with emotion and wept as Bowen was placed on my chest (where he stayed for hours!).
I was in active labor for about 12 hours and went into labor on the day that I visualized during my Hypnobabies practice. Through this experience I learned to listen to my body, to believe in myself, and to trust in the process of birth. Birthing was incredibly hard work, but not impossible; and the reward of meeting my sweet baby boy was immeasurable.
I loved being a part of this birth! Melissa and Josh were very deliberate in their birth choices. Even when their birthing time began unexpectedly with ruptured membranes and no pressure waves, they weighed their options with care. Seriously, all I did during this birth was fan Melissa while taking pictures. I had tired arms and a happy heart. –Julie